March 31, 2011

Meatless Meals: Fresh Eggs

For my brief vacation I stayed with my oldest friend and her family, at the foot of the Shenandoah Mountains.  It was a glorious change of pace: I sat and chatted and drank tea and strong Italian coffee, and read books aloud to the 3 older girls and took them for a walk where we discovered that the slimy green moss of summer is already starting to grow and that Pooh Sticks doesn't work in the creek that flows under the railroad track.  
And then there were the chickens.  Miss Rose takes care of them (she's 8) and simply adores them, and knows everything there is to know about how to raise them and what they like to eat and their different personalities.  And she gathers the eggs every afternoon and counts them scrupulously--three green, two brown with red spots and four a creamy cafe au lait--and picks the most beautiful ones to blow. She'll dye them for her cousin (who's allergic--which is just about the most tragic thing Miss Rose can think of) come Easter-time, while we get to enjoy a big batch of scrambled eggs now. (Lucky us.) 

And while the scrambled eggs are the most flavorful I've eaten in ages, I can't help but think its a total waste to eat such delicious eggs simply scrambled.  So, for today's meatless meal, I am going to share with you my family's super-duper secret recipe for Shirred Eggies (like all the Perry's super-duper-secret breakfast recipes, this came from Marion Cunningham's brilliant Breakfast Book).  This recipe originally calls for ham or bacon, but, especially in spring, I love adding fresh mushrooms or morrels, and sprinkling with spring onions when finished cooking.  This is my meatless, spring adaptation, for one.  It can be multiplied as many times as you like, and is excellent for a brunch:

Shirred Eggs
from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

1 egg
1 tsp butter
1 Tbsp cream
1 Tbsp lightly sauteed mushrooms or
  1 Morrel Mushroom, whole
1 Tbsp grated sharp white cheddar, or a dry cheese like pecorino or vella jack
1 spring onion, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 325. Melt butter in bottom of buttered ramekin. Add mushroom then crack the egg on top. Add salt and pepper. top off with the cream.

Put all the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake 9 minutes.

Sprinkle on cheese and bake 3 more minutes. Eggs should be just set.

Sprinkle on the spring onion, and serve immediately with hot buttered toast, or crusty peasant bread.

(Photo by Mary Swenson.  That's really want Miss Rose's eggs look like, and I'd take a picture myself, but I only have black and white film right now.)

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